Chana dal, also known as Bengal gram in Britain is the most widely grown and most popular legume in India and a staple food in Indian diet. It looks like split peas but is more related to chickpeas- garbanzo beans.
• Bengal gram has a mildly sweet flavor and a great texture that does not get mushy.
• It cooks quite fast and does not require long pre-soaking.
• Very suitable for vegetarian burgers or can be eaten as a quick snack with some pickles.
• It can be used in soups, casseroles, dips or salads- basically anywhere you can use garbanzos.
Chana Dal- Bengal Gram Nutritional Value:
Although bengal gram is a close relative of garbanzos, it has a much lower glycemic index value and tastes sweeter than either garbanzo beans or split peas. It has an average GI value of 8, which is very low by any standards.
• Very low in glycemic index
• Great for diabetics- it won’t cause spikes in your blood sugar
• Easily digested
• Low fat
• High protein
• Egg and dairy free- vegan
• It contains good amounts of iron, B vitamins and calcium.
Spicy Bengal Gram Recipe:
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 tbsp of garlic
• 1 tbsp of ginger
• 1 cup of chana dal
• 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
• 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
• 1 medium tomato, chopped
• 1 tbsp canola oil or ghee
• Lemon juice
• Garam masalas- 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 2 cardomoms
1. Soak the bengal gram overnight, wash it thoroughly, add 4-5 cups of water and boil rapidly for about 10-12 minutes.
2. Heat the oil or ghee on a pan, add the garam masalas then onions, garlic and ginger.
3. Fry them for a few minutes then add the tomatoes and chilli powder / turmeric with a little bit of water.
4. Add the bengal gram, fry a little then add 3 cups of water.
5. No need to use salt- best to get used to eating without salt!
6. Bring to boil and simmer for about 20-25 mins on low heat.
7. Enjoy it with any Indian bread or low GI basmati rice.